A Brand-New Tour to the Sunshine State!

I was absolutely ecstatic to have the opportunity to plan a tour for our travelers throughout Central Florida! While I have visited the state countless times, the Disney fan in me must admit I have never left the Orlando area, and boy have I been missing out! I spent a week visiting all the hand-picked hotels and attractions to put together the best tour for all of you. Exploring the Sunshine State led me to so many surprises! Let me name just a few…

We start our journey with a Florida classic… alligators! When stepping aboard the airboat for the alligator sightseeing, I was a little unsure what to expect but what I found was a thrilling boat ride in the headwaters of the Everglades packed with fascinating wildlife and several up-close encounters with Florida’s great reptile. Within the first 15 minutes, I spotted five alligators and learned so much about these incredible animals along the way. The highlight of the trip was the grand finale: a 10-foot gator posing for a picture!

I knew when traveling to the orange state that oranges were an absolute must for our tour! To my surprise, I discovered that Florida’s Natural has a great visitor center where you get to learn about the juicing process from crate to carton! Here, I got to discover so much about the state fruit, its growing process, and the history of its industry. I even got to sample a few tasty juices that were made just across the street! 

My time spent in the vibrant Greek community of Tarpon Springs was one of the best surprises and greatest highlights of my scouting trip in Florida. Here, I discovered the World-Famous Sponge Docks, an active working waterfront since the 1800s. I met with Michael James, a Tarpon local who gave me a tour of the area and taught me the ins and outs of its great history in sponge diving. Sponge diving is still an active industry here in Tarpon and the sponges are used all over the world. Did you know that natural sea sponges are much more absorbent and durable than synthetic sponges?! Well, if you’re anything like me you’ll have the most unique little shopping spree here collecting your sponges along these beautiful docks. Opa!

To be honest, I have never watched NASCAR and never thought it would quite be my thing, but after visiting the Daytona International Speedway I am hooked! I was able to take a great tour of the speedway, stepped into victory lane, discovered the history of motorsports here in Daytona at the Motorsport Hall of Fame, and was lucky enough to catch a day when the racers were practicing. Hearing that engine roar as they zoomed past you while standing on the sideline was such a unique experience! During a race, these vehicles can go 2.5 miles in 45 seconds! It was so interesting to tour this world center of racing where one of the top-ranked motorsports organizations in the world all began. 

The Kennedy Space Center is truly an out-of-this-world experience, pun intended! What I found here was an inspiring experience filled with face-to-face conversations with an astronaut, interactive education, simulations of being in space, towering spacecraft, and so much more! Throughout my time here, I spoke with knowledgeable guides that provided deep insights into NASA’s past, present, and future missions and I even relived the final few minutes leading up to the first words ever spoken from the surface of the Moon, “…the Eagle has landed.” I would’ve never guessed how truly inspiring my time here would be as I am reminded of the limitless possibilities that lie beyond our world. I can’t wait for you to experience the great stories of adventure to be told here.

From outer space to sponge diving, alligator encounters, and more, this tour truly has it all! Although I can't reveal everything to you just yet...I think travelers will love the beautiful oceanfront scenery, the state’s many natural wonders, unique attractions, and friendly people we meet along the way. I can’t wait for you to read about the many more surprises Central Florida has in store for you in our September catalog!  

- Laura 
Tour Planner 

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